October 2016
Farm & Field

Not the Usual Bull

Want the best stock for improving your herd? R&K Farms focuses on exceptional results.


The bulls at R&K Farms, as of September, are showing a gain of 3-6.5 pounds per day on a ration of 1-2.9 pounds per 100 pounds bodyweight daily.


The goal is simple: produce exceptional bulls.

Reaching that goal, as any cattleman knows, demands meticulous attention to detail at every stage of herd management. That commitment is the line R&K Farms walks as they prepare for a yearling bull sale in December. They started walking that line when they brought the bulls into Elba to put them on a 110-day test.

“We are very strict and tough on structure, phenotype, good feet and legs, and performance,” said Michael McCart, who manages the new bull test for R&K owners Ronny and Jane Nicholson. “Our goal is to have the best set of beef bulls anybody can buy in the Southeast.”

The Nicholsons raise Simmental and SimAngus.

“Our goal is to produce high-quality SimAngus and Simmental cattle that will add value to their replacement heifers and performance to their steer calves,” the Nicholsons explained.

They decided to start a bull test when the area’s only existing sale closed in 2014.

“We’ve got a really good market in this area for bulls and there’s nobody else who sells bulls on test,” McCart sayid.

The first sale from this test is anticipated to include 69 bulls from 21 consignors.

“This will be a true yearling bull sale,” McCart said.

The sale will be Dec. 10 at the Coffee County Stockyard located at 73 County Road 248 in New Brockton.

“Nobody who comes should expect to see average bulls,” McCart added. “These are going to be exceptional bulls. Any cattleman can benefit from having these real beef bulls.”

The bulls were born in 2015 from July 15 to Oct. 31. They were put on a 110-day test starting Aug. 1 of this year.

“These will be the kind of bulls that will add value to your calves,” McCart said. “They will add value to your replacement heifers and add pounds to your steers.”


Data Tells the Story


The right bull will add value to your replacement heifers and add pounds to your steers.

None of those involved in the new bull test program expect buyers to simply take their word on the exceptional attributes of these animals. The proof will be in the sale catalog that will include performance, gain and ultrasound data on each bull. The bulls were scanned Sept. 7.

“Any data somebody might need will be available in the catalog,” McCart explained.

To get a copy of the catalog, interested buyers can contact McCart at 334-806-5757 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or R&K Farms at 334-403-0383 or write to them at 529 Davis St., Elba, AL 36323. Catalogs will be mailed in late November.

R&K Farms and McCart plan to grow the sale to include 2-year-olds in 2017.

“We intentionally limited our numbers this year,” McCart said.

In 2017, they’d like to expand the bulls on test to include 30 or so 2-year-old bulls. The bulls on test this year are Simmental, Simm-Angus, Angus, Charolais and Brangus.


Start with the Right Feed

Brandon Bledsoe, manager of Opp’s Co-op, is looking forward to the final results of the bulls raised on CPC Grower purchased from his store.


On this first run, they already are establishing foundational practices for managing the test. One of those is feeding CPC Grower 13% R feed manufactured by Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. The recommended feeding rate on the CPC Grower label is 1-2.9 pounds per 100 pounds of bodyweight daily. The feed includes not less than 13 percent crude protein, 3.5 percent crude fat and 24 percent crude fiber, as well as calcium, salt, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin A. The active ingredient is monensin, as monensin sodium activity, to prevent and control coccidiosis.

The feed was recommended by Brandon Bledsoe, manager of Opp’s Co-op, and Ben Courson, salesman for Andalusia Farmers Co-op.

“The service from the Co-op has just been phenomenal,” McCart said.

R&K and McCart, who also has a beef herd, have been feeding CPC Grower for two years, both as creep and at post-weaning. In the bull test, CPC Grower is offered free choice.

“I’ve fed a lot of different feeds over the years,” McCart said. “With CPC, I don’t have any bloat problems, feet problems or kidney problems, and the weight gains are exceptional.”

While acknowledging that genetic potential also impacts gain, McCart said this feed outperforms competitive products.

“This feed improved performance like no other feed I’ve used,” McCart said.

As of early September, McCart was seeing gains of 3-6.5 pounds per day. Again, however, McCart doesn’t expect anybody to simply take his word on that. Feed and gain data will be available when the test finishes.

“We will have the pound of feed per pound of gain ratio at the end of the test,” McCart said. “The proof for this feed will be there on the paper.”

Bledsoe also is looking forward to seeing the numbers.

“We have a lot of cattle producers who are showing good gains with the CPC Grower feed,” Bledsoe added. “Having the statistical data, we believe, will scientifically confirm what we’ve been seeing.”


Pam Caraway is a freelance writer from Florala and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 850-758-8700. Her journalism career started in newspapers, but she found her home and her passion chronicling Southern farm life when she started writing for agricultural magazines in 1991.